West Headlines Lollapalooza 2008, Both Strive For Greatness [Exclusive Coverage]
By Brian “Z” Zisook
Chicago, IL – “Oh, Kanye West is performing?”
Those were the words that led 75,000 concertgoers to Chicago’s Grant Park for the third and final day of Lollapalooza 2008. Yes, the festival featured 120 performances on eight different stages over three days, but it was West’s Sunday evening closing act that had the entire city buzzing.
Thanks to our good friends at Fresh and Clean Media, DJBooth was on hand for the festival’s final day of performances. After rousing late-afternoon sets from a Mark Ronson-backed Rhymefest and the eclectic Gnarls Barkley, the performance that everyone was waiting for began.
West kicked off his performance with Good Morning, the opening track from his award-winning third studio album, Graduation. With camera phones and digital cameras popping up left and right, every moment of his performance seemed to be a larger-than-life event.
The bridges on every record turned into an audience participation session, as the stripped-down backing instrumentals morphed into chopped and screwed, jungle-like and warped versions of the original tracks.
Following stirring renditions of Through The Wire, Diamonds from Sierra Leone, Can’t Tell Me Nothing, and Flashing Lights, an exultant West exclaimed “I’m going to be the greatest of all time!”
Noting that he wasn’t yet on the level of James Brown, Jimi Hendrix or John Lennon, he later followed by saying, “I’m not there yet, but I’m going into the studio later tonight.”
West’s assessment of his place amongst the all-time greats is a fitting parallel for the music festival at which he performed; Lollapalooza, once a must-see event in the summer music world, has slowly begun its return to form.
The music festival, which began in 1991 as a Jane’s Addiction farewell tour, has always boasted an star-studded, diverse lineup. Back then, Nine Inch Nails and Ice-T shared the bill. Now, some 17 years later, West has joined NIN as a main stage headliner.
The end result? For the first time since Lollapalooza jump-started its lifeless heart in 2003, the festival was a sellout.
Best ever? Not yet. In the future? The possibility remains.